Michael's On East Competes in REEF’s 2018 Lionfish Derby Series

Lionfish derby 3 Madi ONeill Mote Marine Laboratory
Photo Credit: Madi O'Neill/Mote Marine Laboratory

The Michael's culinary team was delighted to join this year's competition at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, alongside several area chefs and colleagues who care about the marine environment - and appreciate great food!

Special thanks to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Whole Foods Market, REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) and all participating organizations who helped raise awareness about invasive species as part of the 2018 Lionfish Derby which concluded on Sunday, July 8.

One highlight to note in Mote’s full recap of the special event are the restaurant awards:

First Place: Chef Jamil Pineda of Michael’s On East, serving pan-roasted lionfish with date and roasted pine nut chutney, with curried shrimp bisque, beech mushrooms and garlic Swiss chard 

Way to go, Jamil, and kudos to Philip’s brother John Mancini of the Deep Sea Diner who took second place!  

The biggest winner of the weekend? The Gulf of Mexico! Thanks to six teams of divers who removed 545 invasion lionfish from the Gulf. 

According to REEF, lionfish are: 
1) Voracious predators being shown to eat native fish and crustaceans in large quantities, including both ecologically and economically important species like grunts, snapper, nassau grouper, and cleaner shrimp
2) Not known to have any native predators
3) Equipped with venomous dorsal, ventral and anal spines, which deter predators and can cause painful wounds to humans
4) Capable of reproducing year-round with unique reproduction mechanisms not commonly found in native fishes (females can reproduce every 2-4 days!)
5) Relatively resistant to parasites, giving them another advantage over native species
6) Fast in their growth, able to outgrow native species with whom they compete for food and space

Non-native marine fishes can pose a major threat to marine fisheries, habitats, and eco-system function. Click here to learn more. 

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